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UNICAC FACES BARRIERS IMPOSED BY COVID-19 THANKS TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES

UNICAC project partners, as all international projects, have been touched by the collateral effects of this situation, therefore European and most of the Asian Universities are physically closed, what is more, international travels have been cancelled making impossible the continuation of physical partner meetings, and other project activities.
 
Nevertheless, a crisis is also an opportunity and the partnership decided to continue with the development of the activities foreseen taking advantages of new technologies and alternative ways of communication. Although partner meeting, onsite seminars, trainings and workshops are very important, they will be postponed until the medical situation will get better. In the meantime, UNICAC continues to carry out most of the foreseen activities thanks to the use of new technologies and collaborative platforms that help us to tackle the current barrier of physical mobility.

The impact of the COVID 19 on the internationalisation of HEIs in Uzbekistan: between constraints and alternative solutions (within the UNICAC project)

In the space of a few weeks our global interconnected societies have transformed into life in lockdown and with restricted mobility. Every private company, public organisation or educational institution has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

In the meantime, at the National university of Uzbekistan the project UNICAC continues to carry out most of the foreseen activities thanks to the use of new technologies and collaborative platforms that help us to tackle the current barrier of physical mobility. Some of these activities are the organisation of virtual working groups meetings to analyse and identify best practices in Teaching/Learning/Research in all partner universities; online seminars to prepare the Strategic Plans of Internationalisation in partner countries; or a workshop about funding opportunities and project preparation.

The COVID-19 pandemic period has a big effect on internationalization of HEIs in Uzbekistan in terms of international mobility of staff/student/teachers and their onsite trainings. International universities cannot invite professors from foreign countries because of closed borders. International activities, like conferences, seminars, symposiums have been postponed or cancelled. However, the situation has affected on boosting the distance learning process: many universities have started providing online education, which will enhance new services at HEIs.

As an international network supporting innovation beyond borders, we know that when people work together, extraordinary things can happen. In the past weeks, our colleagues and partners across the network have been banging their virtual heads together to put in place support measures for developing the project and implementing the activities and tasks into reality.
 
Nilufar Sadullaeva
National university of Uzbekistan

UNICAC is unstoppable!

On June the 16th, all UNICAC partners virtually met to share the evolution of the project activities and prepare the Interim Report of the project.

The global pandemic did not stop project partners from sharing their knowledge and continue working on their Strategic Plans of Internationalisation and Cooperation, and benchmarking of internationalisation and cooperation potentials in Teaching, Learning and Research.

In addition, on the 3rd of June, INCOMA prepared and delivered an online workshop in the framework of the project activities about funding opportunities and project preparation. All partners participated in this workshop, in which they had the opportunity to know how to apply for calls in Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 or EuropeAid programs, among others; and learnt how to prepare successful project proposals.

UNICAC’s impact on the Institute of Economy and Trade of
Tajik State University of Commerce (IET TSUC)

The IET TSUC intensifies activities within the framework of the UNICAC project. The main goals of the UNICAC aligned with the Strategic missions of the IET TSUC approved for 2020-2025 to promote Internationalization and develop International Cooperation.

We at IET TSUC are working on increasing the impact of the UNICAC results and makes forward steps for the sustainability of the project and maintaining, strengthening inter-institutional cooperation within the consortium. Today we continue working on the implementation workpackages within UNICAC, despite coronavirus pandemic COVID-19.

Face to face series of training and virtual meetings for International relations offices’ staff with the Laurea University, the University of Seville and the University of Torino created a good prerequisites for adopting best practices of the EU HEIs in terms of Internationalization. Moreover, at IET TSUC we upgrading the infrastructure of the IRO, and our office was transformed to the videoconfrence room with specialized videoconfrence system equipment, mics and screen, new desktop computers.

It is appropriate to mention that, IET TSUC is working with UNICAC consortia members already. We already have agreed with the Laurea University on collaborating within International Credit Mobility KA107 in the framework of Erasmus, and we have already applied for the call 2019. Also, the IET TSUC is happy to include Laurea University to its Capacity Building project implementing through the Higher Education Development Project of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tajikistan. Together with the University of Torino and the University of Seville, the memorandum of understandings and mobility agreements are signed. Agreed to continue collaboration within International Credit Mobility KA107.  

The IET TSUC is closely working with Central Asian and Chinese partners. This year together with the National University of Uzbekistan we have applied jointly for the Capacity Building for Higher Education in the framework of the Erasmus. We have agreed on cooperating in science and research. We agree with Tashkent University of Information Technology to cooperate in the direction of building innovative centers. The memorandum of understandings with the National University of Uzbekistan, Khorog State University has been signed as well. The IET TSUC also seeks opportunities to work with NorthWest Agriculture-Forest University within the Chinese research funding opportunities.

Erasmus+ CBHE UNICAC project realization at Tashkent University of Information technologies

UNICAC project’s activities were presented at the TUIT Academic Council in May 2019 and received great interest in the development of international relations by the board members. In particular, the Dean of the Faculty of Computer Engineering paid special attention to the development of the Strategic Development of the University's Internationalization during the project implementation period. Since then, the department plans to increase the number of foreign students, making special efforts to obtain international accreditation from ABET.

During the UNICAC project, TUIT project participants gain knowledge related to the internationalization of research, teaching and learning through online seminars with Laurea University and the strategic plan for the internationalization of the university from the University of Seville. The project activities and the recommendations of EU partners were brought to the attention of the university administration for taking special measures to internationalize the university in order to achieve ambitious plans of being included in QS and THE ranking.

 

The impact of UNICAC in KHOGU

The UNICAC project is one of the most important projects of our university. Our university participated in several trainings at partner universities. The main topics of the trainings were the internationalization of the university, the work of international offices, working with students from different countries and how to attract more foreign students, how to prepare a better memorandum or agreement.

In general, all the topics mentioned above are aimed at improving the international offices of partners. Although this is not a novelty for our university, the trainers have proposed many new and interesting ideas that will continue to be used to improve the international ties of our university.
    
Each step of the project is presented to the administration, teachers and students, and the highlights of the project are inserted on the university website. Several times the project was presented to the entire university and once was presented to representatives of Erasmus in Tajikistan.
             
UNICAC 598340-EPP-1-2018-1-ES-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.